Wolverhampton Grand Theatre Marks Windrush 75 
With Special Programme of Events

Sell-out screening of the National Theatre production of SMALL ISLAND.

FREE community celebration of creative work by Wolverhampton’s Caribbean community

Windrush Legal Clinic will hold a pop up clinic at the theatre all day for the public.

Return of RUSH Theatre Company’s RUSH.

This year sees the 75th anniversary of the HMT Empire Windrush arriving in Britain on 22 June 1948. Wolverhampton Grand Theatre is celebrating Windrush 75 with a series of celebratory events on Thursday 22 June next week.

To mark the occasion, a public event on 22nd June at the Grand Theatre will share four pieces of work from a project that sees funded commissions by young creatives from Wolverhampton’s Caribbean community. Through their commissions, the young artists have researched the entwined stories of Windrush and the NHS in the local area. They have taken part in workshops at local cultural institutions (such as Wolverhampton Art Gallery and City Archives) to develop their creative piece. Delicious Caribbean cuisine will also be available.

Also on the day, Windrush Legal Clinic will be at the theatre for drop ins. Windrush Legal Clinic are a not-for-profit organisation working in partnership with the local community, Wolverhampton University and other prominent campaigners. A new grassroots organisation, they are also part of the network of other Windrush organisations providing services across the UK. The service will be delivered by qualified legal professionals and volunteer caseworkers for those living and working in Wolverhampton and the Black Country.

The evening will see the return of RUSH Theatre Company’s RUSH – A JOYOUS JAMAICAN JOURNEY, telling the story of Reggae music and the Windrush Generation and hear how their music took the world by storm. Narrated by comedian John Simmit and featuring ska, rock steady, calypso, gospel, lovers rock, dancehall and Reggae played live by the JA Reggae Band. Featuring the music of Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, Lord Kitchener, Millie Small and many more.

​Earlier in the week, on Monday 19 June, there will be a sold-out screening of SMALL ISLAND which was staged at the National Theatre in 2019 at Wolverhampton Central Library. SMALL ISLAND embarks on a journey from Jamaica to Britain, through the Second World War to 1948 – the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury. The play follows three intricately connected stories. Hortense yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert dreams of becoming a lawyer, and Queenie longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as the play traces the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK. A company of 40 actors take to the stage of the National Theatre in this timely and moving story.

Before the screening of SMALL ISLAND, there will be a talk from Wolverhampton resident, Mr Reuben Campbell who made his own journey to the UK as a hopeful 20-year-old in 1962, bidding farewell to his loved ones in Jamaica in search of new beginnings, well-known for opening the Rising Star Club in Bilston.

Associate Director of Audiences & Communication Vicky Price said; “the Grand Theatre sits at the heart of every community in Wolverhampton. We are a stage for everyone and we strive to tell everyone’s story the best we can. We marked Windrush Day last year with a self-produced film, screened in Wolverhampton, telling local Windrush stories and this year the theatre is proud to be continuing that work with artistic commissions and opening our theatre up to our Caribbean community in multiple ways. We very much look forward to welcoming thousands of people through the doors next week.”

                    RUSH Photo                                                     Small Island - Photo credit: Brinkhoff Moegenburg

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